Over the past couple of months I’ve written about the importance of, and the value to be gained from collaborating and networking, whilst these both typically suggest more face-to-face, offline, activities they’re not exclusively so. Of course what I’m not so subtly alluding to here are the vast opportunities to be had for your business via social media. Do not underestimate it on a local level particularly.

If your immediate response is an eye roll or to retreat in fear, then let me share with you a couple of recent examples of how effective it can be. 

You may (or may not!) know that I’m the chair of the board of trustees for Chichester Cinema at New Park, based at New Park Centre for Community and Arts.  This is Chichester’s only independent cinema and this year it is celebrating its 40th anniversary – yes, FORTY YEARS! Every August they have a 21 day international film festival – and we are rapidly heading into week two – to kick off the film festival we run 3 open air screenings in Priory Park. 

Over 2,600 people attended the screenings over the first weekend in August, two of the 3 events sold out (Bohemian Rhapsody & The Lion King).  We achieved this without spending a penny on online advertising, but by using the Event tools in Facebook. The Event post for Bohemian Rhapsody alone was “seen” by over 51K Facebook accounts and achieved over 2K responses.  What they mean by “responses” are people indicating that they were interested or going; commenting/tagging friends/family to join them; or clicking on the link to find out more or buy tickets.

A second example of how collaborating and planning ahead can make the difference when using social media is the “Wish You Were Here” event at Pallant House Gallery run by the Design Collective Chichester that I mentioned last month. The Design Collective team, who are all volunteers, created imagery that each of the 54 design contributors could share across their social media channels and some content guidance providing a synopsis of the event and desired hashtags to be included. 

The reach isn’t easy to measure from a stats point of view as there was so much posting and sharing going on from both personal and business accounts across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, however, the success of the event was proof enough.  They expected approximately 200 people to attend the event last Thursday evening, they actually had well over 400 come out to support them on what was a pretty wet August evening. The social media sharing continued throughout the evening from both designers involved and the event visitors, which no doubt prompted more to pop down. Again, no budget spent on online advertising. Consistent and co-ordinated social media messaging delivered the goods.

Not having business accounts set up can genuinely cost you business to your competitors.  People are constantly looking for recommendations from their social media channels, so don’t miss out on your existing fans having the opportunity to link directly to your business channels. 

One of the key benefits of being active on social media for your business is the opportunity to build relationships with, and retain, customers.  In a recent survey carried out by Sprout Social, they found that over 60% of people were more likely to buy from a business or brand they were following on social media. Here are three content tips to get started:

  1. Show, don’t just tell – a vivid video or image taps into our emotions and does a far better job than words alone
  2. Share your story – never underestimate the power of storytelling to connect and engage
  3. Encourage engagement – use the tools available by creating events or polls etc. Ask questions and learn more about your ideal customer

If you need help getting started or finessing your channels and messaging, I run monthly 2.5hr workshops at Rume2 aimed at businesses just like you.  I can also recommend local businesses, Method Communications and Kitch Media, both of which offer a variety of marketing services that will help your business fly on social media.

There is just enough space to mention a great local event on 22nd August, Chichester Summer Street Party is coming to East Street 4-8pm.  Do pop in and support all of our local businesses, chain or independent, our high street needs you more than ever. 


If you have any comments or questions about this article or about my business networking group, please email me at: [email protected]

Debbie is amazing, and her workshop has helped our business grow. She is kind, friendly and really down to earth can’t wait to work with her again in the future! Along with this the space [at Rume2] was fantastic for individuals or to use as a group. Its clean, bright and feels like a great place to get creative!

The best money I have ever spent within my business – Salone Events. Debbie’s tips were so useful and ones that could be implemented immediately. Since making one very very very simple change, I have had 7 leads through 1 post!!! Highly recommend. And bonus – She is the most lovely person out there!!!

I recently attended a Social Media Workshop for small businesses and I am so glad I did. Not only was it delivered with lots of enthusiasm by Debbie who clearly knows her stuff, but it gave me great tips to use moving forward and gave me the kick up the behind I needed to get a little more consistent with my social media. I would definitely recommend this session.

I attended a social media master class, which I would highly recommend to anyone/small business. Whether you know very little (like me) or are more experienced you can’t fail to take away some great tips from this very informative session, delivered by the very welcoming and engaging Debbie.

Debbie Ford is an inspiration & her Social Media workshop at Rume2 last week gave me loads of new ideas & a fresh perspective. Was really refreshing being amongst other business owners, all of us from different backgrounds, but everyone really friendly & supportive.

Debbie is absolutely brilliant! So informative and has given me a new lease of confidence when it comes to social media. Debbie taught us all so much in such a relaxed manner and made a group of strangers feel like a group of friends within seconds! I cannot recommend her enough!

I attended the social media masterclass with Debbie and I took away so many top tips and useful information. It was pitched at a level which meant if you were a total beginner or more experienced you would have walked away with much more knowledge that you had when you went in the room. Very useful and I’d highly recommend it to support your social channels for your business – thanks Debbie!

I am very new to social media and literally learning on the hoof! Debbie delivered an extremely informative social media presentation crammed with useful tips and links in a very relaxed and friendly style – lots of laughs too, no question too silly, and no chance of nodding off! Thank you! I will be in touch!

Thanks so much for this morning’s session. Very useful! and packed with brilliant information I had no idea about.

I attended the social media for small businesses course you ran today with the Chichester Bid – and it was fantastic! The atmosphere was relaxed but interested, you were informative and happy to answer any questions that came your way. All of the tips you suggested looked attainable and the steps came from a place of common sense. Thank you!

Can’t thank you enough for a great workshop and I’ve certainly come out of it with a clearer understanding and mind-set!

Debbie was fantastic… I struggle with social media (I only joined Facebook when I started my business a few months ago). Debbie spotted things that I could change quickly and easily as well as guiding me to streamlining my process for all platforms. She is incredibly supportive and I highly recommend her.

We trust Debbie to manage all our social channels for our web design and digital marketing agency. Debbie really understands how to get the most out of social media for our business. She gets that it’s all about engagement and authenticity, not just ‘likes’ and ‘follows’. Never generic or dull, our social feeds have never been so useful, interesting and consistent. Highly recommended!

Debbie really knows her stuff, and has great energy and ideas. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending her to anyone needing some social savvy!

Thank you so much for the course, I found it eye opening and extremely informative.

Thank you to Debbie for coaching me with my digital media, Debbie has a wonderful way of thinking, so many brilliant ideas for content. Anyone that is involved with social media must have Debbie as a coach! Thank you  … and when you start seeing tangible results it’s such a good feeling!

Recently attended a course, run by Debbie, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It gave me the kick to start using Instagram (which is the social media channel I was lacking in). Debbie explained everything in a no-nonsense way, that even I could understand. Very much recommend her course.

Super helpful session with Debbie this morning, learnt some top tips which I have taken on board and already putting into practise. A calm and clear teacher with a friendly manner, with the vibe that no question too silly to ask. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending her sessions. Thanks again Debbie.

I would thoroughly recommend Debbie. I joined one of her social media sessions. I thought she pitched it really well – giving us lots of useful and practical advice whilst creating a forum to ask those questions you’ve always wanted to ask! I came away with a renewed confidence in my approach to social media for business.

I attended a social media course run by Debbie.
It was very interesting and I learnt a lot to use for the future in my role at work.
would recommend

Debbie came and gave a very inspiring talk about Social Media to our networking meeting for The Selsey Business Partnership. She had a wonderful way of engaging with everyone in the room, raising lots of discussion and advised on ways to improve and help with business Social Media – everyone in the room found the tips very helpful whether or not they were regular social media users – highly recommend if you are looking for help with your business or as a speaker for your group.

Thank you for a very informative 121 session on email marketing!

Had a great day at Boston Tea Party Chichester with Debbie from The Chichester Social looking at how we use social media for our business, and the best tips to improve our social media presence – highly recommended 👍

For any business that needs a bit of Social Marketing Savvy, do get in touch with Debbie at The Chichester Social. She’s ace, and is most passionate about our local independents and entrepreneurs!

Had a brilliant catch up and strategy session with Debbie from The Chichester Social. She reminded me that this time last year, South Coast Mermaids didn’t exist and encouraged me to reflect on the progress I have made! Thank you Debbie!

Debbie gave a very interesting and inspiring talk to the Selsey Business Partnership members last week. She remembered everybody’s name and their type of business and brought that into the talk, which made it very personal to everybody there. many thanks Debbie, Sue and Tom Celebration Balloons 4 You

Debbie is a mine of knowledge. Your talk has given me a lot if ideas and inspiration as to the direction I want my business to go in.
Thank you